Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Being Knowledgable: Past :: Google: Present

If you've been following my blog at all then you know that I have been preparing and studying for the Miller Analogies Test or the MAT to apply to graduate school. Well, last Friday I took the test, but to blow off some much needed pent up steam I decided to write a post about how I really feel about the entire test. I use to read Dave Barry's column when it was published in the state paper. If you've never read his column it is basically a sarcastic monologue on a particular topic, he wrote one on Math that stands out in my mind & being someone who isn't a fan of math I could relate! :) Anyways, here is my "Dave Barry-like" attempt on the MAT. This could get lengthy so if you get to the end you deserve a cookie! :)

I wouldn't have even had to take the MAT if I had achieved a 3.0 in undergrad or had the thought cross my mind that I would ever go back to school so I should work just a tad harder to achieve the 3.0. Oh well, too late now. So I had to take the MAT, thank goodness not the GRE or I might would have had to be committed afterward. I thought I would take the pro-active approach and pick up the McGraw-Hill's study guide for the test, which cost me $18.95, the first extraction from the "I'm going back to school and will be poor" account. :/ From the book I learned that there are several types of analogies, 11 to be exact.  Who knew? It explained that on the actual test there would be 120 questions and I would have 60min to complete them. The book also contained 10 practice tests with only 100 questions and to be finished in 50min. The test was graded on a scale of 200-600.

In the back of the book there were indexes, some of items you would expect like Vocabulary words, units of measurement & some history. But after further investigation it also included LISTS, LONG lists of literary works & authors, artist & artwork, composers & pieces, countries of present day & what they were known as in the past, mythology and even animals, what they call their babies and what kind of home they live in. I quickly discovered why this was in the back. The practice analogies were not as easy as I had thought they would be, like Wax: Crayon:: Wood: Paintbrush. No, it was a random author that I only MAY have heard of, and then a book they wrote and then another author and another book. It it just doesn't end there, the mythology. I never even took mythology in high school, much less college. Seriously? Then just when you think it can't get any worse they throw NUMBERS in. Excuse me, I thought analogies were in the "language arts" not MATH. And let's not forget those pesky & annoying roman numerals. Who even uses those besides the Super Bowl?

I started to do the practice test and realized I wasn't getting them right not because I didn't know how the analogy worked, but because I didn't know the subject matter. Sometimes I would get lucky and be able to get the answer from context clues, word Stems (thank you 7th grade english class) or because I did actually know what it was about. Then there were those that I'd just guess or know the answer to because of something totally un-related to the question. For instance one of the analogies contained teh word ARIA, sadly I knew that word meant "melody" because Aria is a character from Pretty Little Liars tv show, I liked the name so I looked it up on a baby names website when I first heard it to see what it meant. Yes, sometimes I look up baby names, but that's besides the point. On others I didn't know know the content I would refer to the back of the book in those absurd indexes and the word, or book, or chemistry problem wouldn't even BE in the back. How can you be tested on something that isn't even in the practice book? So when it wasn't in the back of the book where do you think I went? Google. Yes, that's right I resulted to the resource that knows it all!! Then it dawned on me, why in the WORLD would you ever have to know (off the top of your head) that Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss artist famous for his sculpture, especially his elongated human figures. Thomas Gainsborough was a painter known for his portraits. Yes, this was an actual answer explanation for question #58 in practice test 6. The analogy is as follows- GIACOMETTI: (a. sculpture, b.landscapes, c.collage, :: GAINSBOROUGH: PORTRAITS

So yes, why would you ever need to know that (especially since it's not related to my masters program)? You wouldn't, but if you did you'd GOOGLE it!!! Because my generation can't hardly accomplish changing a roll of toilet paper without the power of Google, and you know what that's OK. All our lives we've been told that our brain is like a computer, but the brain is much slower than the computer and not as reliable. So, go with the computer or smart phone if your on the go, and Google what you need to know. Don't be ashamed. So, I continued to study while Googling all along. I learned a lot, a lot I'll never ACTUALLY NEED to know unless I decide to go on Jeopardy or play Trivial Pursuit. However, I think it's time we face the fact that Google does in fact make the world go round. So now that you know how I really feel about it I'm sure you're wondering what my score was. Remember, 200 is the lowest 600 is the highest. I made a *drum roll please*... 400!!! yay! Go me! Now, onto writing the essay to accompany the score & submit to admissions... Hmm... Essay. Can I Google that? Just kidding.

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